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How Can American Express Close Cards People Have Had for 30 Years?

Question:

Dear Steve,

My friend has had an AMEX platinum since 2008 and a regular AMEX for 30 years.

He has never missed a payment!! He allowed my son to be an additional card holder. My son runs high charges, but payments are never missed and are usually way above the minimum payment.

The primary cardholder received a call from AMEX stating his card was being canceled and that he would get a letter.

No one at AMEX will talk to him. No one can help him with an explanation. Yet, there have been no payments missed and no NSF payments EVER.

What could have happened?

Is it customary for AMEX not to talk to cardholders… they always speak to me?

How can he go about getting his card reinstated?

Thank you.

Stephanie

Answer:

Dear Stephanie,

American Express has been closing accounts for longtime customers. See these posts with more information in them.

The bottom line is the American Express cardholder agreement allows them to close an account for any reason.

I talked about this in this podcast.

You can also read the answer here.

Unless additional information is included in the letter they send, I don’t see this as anything other than American Express closing the account for any internal business decision.

An account with any card issuer may feel as if you are special. That impression helps to sell and promote cards to new people. But let’s be honest here. From a card issuer’s point of view, the relationship is entirely transactional.

When a group of cardholders is flagged for meeting a defined pattern, they can be hacked off to reduce the bank’s risk.

There is nothing prestigious about having an American Express card of any color. They are all tools to make a financial transaction. Period. Some of the cards may carry more or different perks than others. However, many other cards provide incredible rewards.

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For example, I have not paid for a hotel room in years using reward points on one of my cards.

Your friend is not alone in mysteriously having his American Express card canceled.

It’s time for your friend and your son to shop for new cards.

Sincerely,


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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